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Monday, September 10, 2012


Tomorrow is the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The Los Angeles Times reports on a unique way in which citizens are aiding the war on terror:
Working from a beige house at the end of a dirt road, Jeff Bardin switches on a laptop, boots up a program that obscures his location, and pecks in a passkey to an Internet forum run by an Iraqi branch of Al Qaeda.

Soon the screen displays battle flags and AK-47 rifles, plus palm-lined beaches to conjure up a martyr's paradise.

"I do believe we are in," says Bardin, a stout, 54-year-old computer security consultant.

Barefoot in his bedroom, Bardin pretends to be a 20-something Canadian who wants to train in a militant camp in Pakistan. With a few keystrokes, he begins uploading an Arabic-language manual for hand-to-hand combat to the site.

"You have to look and smell like them," he explains. "You have to contribute to the cause so there's trust built."

Bardin, a former Air Force linguist who is fluent in Arabic, is part of a loose network of citizen "hacktivists" who secretly spy on Al Qaeda and its allies. Using two dozen aliases, he has penetrated chat rooms, social networking accounts and other sites where extremists seek recruits and discuss sowing mayhem.

Over the last seven years, Bardin has given the FBI and U.S. military hundreds of phone numbers and other data that he found by hacking jihadist websites. A federal law enforcement official confirmed that Bardin and a handful of other computer-savvy citizens have provided helpful information.

At CBS, 60 Minutes interviewed a member of the SEAL team that killed bin Laden.  A clip: